Taking your smartphone overseas can often end up being an expensive affair. While travel packs or a local SIM can help mitigate the damage to your wallet, Vodafone's $5 Roaming is one simpler options for your international data needs.
If you're travelling to a country included in offer, you'll be charged an extra $5 per day to use your Australian inclusions overseas. This means you can make calls, send texts, and use data like you would when you're in Australia.
The fee is only charged on days where you use your inclusions: if you're keeping it on flight mode and mooching off public Wi-Fi, you won't pay a thing.
However, you should be aware that any network use (calls, texts or data) will trigger the $5 charge, so if you've set your phone to automatically check for new emails or updates on Facebook, this will activate roaming for the day. Receiving a text message will not, but receiving a call will.
If you're travelling to New Zealand, you'll actually be able to roam for free.
There is however a slight catch: you're only able to use Vodafone roaming for up to 90 days in any given calendar year. After you've used your 90 days, you'll be billed at pay-as-you-go rates.
- Standard calls and SMS to numbers in the country you are visiting
- Standard calls and SMS to numbers back in Australia
- The same data allowance you have in your plan in Australia. If you're on a plan with 5GB of data, you can use 5GB of data while you're overseas
- The same international call allowance your plan has in Australia
- Access to international 4G networks where available
How do I activate $5 Roaming?
If you're on a Vodafone postpaid plan - either contract or month-to-month - you can use $5 Roaming when overseas. If you signed up to a plan after April 23 2014, it will already be switched on; the only thing left to do is book your holiday.
If you signed up to an eligible plan before that date, you'll need to turn it on through Vodafone's online portal.
If your plan isn't eligible - if you're on prepaid, for example - you'll need to swap to a new postpaid plan to use $5 Roaming.
Where does it work?
At present, there's over 55 countries covered by Vodafone's $5 Roaming. These include:
Outside of these countries, you'll have to pay-as-you-go. Vodafone's rates are as follows:
- $1 per minute to make or receive calls
- $1 per MB of data used
- 75c per text message
In most cases, try to avoid using data when paying-as-you-go. You could end up paying $40 or more to just view a single YouTube video.
Going over your data
If you're sharing too many photos while overseas and go over your monthly data limit, excess data is billed the same way as in Australia. As soon as you hit your cap, you're charged $10 and get an extra 1GB to use until the end of your billing month.
Is $5 Roaming a good deal?
For shorter trips, $5 Roaming is a fantastic option. An entire week overseas would cost you $35, assuming you're using your inclusions every day.
Value becomes a little harder to judge the longer you're away from home: a month overseas would bring your roaming bill to as much as $155 on top of your current phone plan. If you need to keep your Australian number, that might be worth it, but buying a local SIM at your destination could end up being the more economic option for extended travel.